By Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Barr Joseph Daramola has called for reopening of churches closed over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Daramola said it was wrong of government authorities to continue closing churches when other aspects of national life have started taking shape.
Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide, aka Winners’ Chapel International, David Oyedepo, had questioned the continuous closure of churches over the coronavirus pandemic, alleging some ulterior motives.
Oyedepo, who spoke during the Covenant Hour of Prayer Programme last Wednesday, said if markets could be opened for six hours, there was no reason churches should not be opened for two hours.
The revered cleric said he believed there was a gang up against the growth of the church in the country.
Reacting to the development, Daramola who spoke with The Nation on telephone said churches can still maintain social distancing while conducting services.
He said government cannot separate the religious environment from that of the economy, adding that churches are even more orderly than markets.
Daramola said: “Because if you are looking at the economic aspect and because of that you have open a small window then it should extended to the religious aspect. Everybody, have turned to God on this COVID-19 issue. And the voice of the people is the voice of God. When people are shouting and calling God in their house is good but there is a central place of worship approved by government. So why do you have to lock it down.
“For anybody who is reasonable, will not throw away what Bishop Oyedepo has said. At the same time we have to balance the situation.
“I mean it is very logical if they said markets should open there is warning even when you are going to the market.
“You have to wear nose mask, and maintain certain distance which is impossible at a market place.
“Church can still maintain social distancing. If the church service is two hours before, there is no reason the church cannot make it one hour. T
“They will now spread services to follow the social distancing order. This is my advice. You cannot divorce the religious environment from the economic environment.
“There should be no total lockout of churches and Mosques. We can regulate it. All those government officials that are talking to us about it, they put on masks”.